Jenny, Dave, and their two children Oakley and Cali have been committed to living a life dedicated to living simply, and simply live. After they lost it all, they decided to sell their possessions and live a life of adventure, focusing more on experiences rather than things.
What have they learned from their adventures thus far? To pack light, stay in the moment, focus on family and experiences and never stop chasing your dreams.
What inspired you to live a life of travel and microadventures as a family?
In short, we lost everything. Well, that was the catalyst at least. The long version: we’ve always been pretty adventurous but like many, we were hustling year after year trying to establish a stable career and financial base so that we could travel later on in life. My husband, Dave, is an entrepreneur, and he’s really good at it. But because of matters out of his control, we had a sudden and unexpected lawsuit of about 1 million dollars in 2015 which negated everything we had worked for and then some. What do you do when you lose it all? During this hard season, we decided to be changed by it. Instead of trying to recover and resume our old lives, we wanted to see God’s purpose through it. We had to sell our home, and, ironically, instead of feeling sad we felt a freedom we had never experienced. Because of our circumstances and our necessity to sell all of our possessions, we were finally free to travel as we had always desired. We started to intentionally build a life that would impact who we were becoming instead of just maintaining who we were. The loss helped us rest but forced us to live simply, and all of the sudden we started to simply live. Often our dreams are so big that we never make any of them happen, and that’s why we love the idea of micro-adventures or micro-missions because we all can take small steps along the way to get us closer to those dreams, goals, or missions!
How has your life changed by committing to a life of adventure?
Gosh. This is a hard question. In so many ways. First, adventuring and breathing in the beauty of creation has been such a sweet, daily reminder to us of our good Creator. It’s almost impossible to go somewhere beautiful and not think of the artist behind the beauty. Second, it has given us new meaning to “family time.” We always joke and say that Oakley (our 2-year-old) thrives when we travel. It’s true. Its almost like he’s having too much fun to be naughty!! Our time together is so intentional when we travel. Being together, adventuring, and seeing nature is just so much more fun together. Third, we’ve realized how few material possessions we need in life. We are currently living out of suitcases, and we each have a few outfits and the kids a few toys. We’d rather spend our money on experiences instead of things.
What is some of your advice to families looking to travel more with their children?
Dave and I loved being adventurous before we had kids. We were afraid that when we had children we would be confined to our home doing monotonous duties until the kids could partake in our crazy adventures. Today, our adventures may not look exactly like they did pre-kids, but we’ve, nonetheless, decided to get out there and do it anyway!
It’s super daunting to think about if you’ve never done it or if you’ve had a prior stressful experience traveling with kids. I would encourage you to try it and try it again. The more you travel with your kids, the better it gets! Pack light, don’t be afraid to alter your itinerary (because, kids), travel strategically at certain times of the day, and ultimately, try to plan outings that your kids will enjoy! What if our kids grew up watching us chase after every dream we’ve ever had and were involved in the journey of helping us fulfill those dreams? I think it would change them- for the good and for the rest of their lives.
In a world dominated by social media, how do you believe children can benefit from travel and adventure?
This sort of seems like a catch 22 to me, only because we have a social media account that we add to and update daily. Ha! But even for us, it’s SO easy to be caught up in social media. Thankfully, neither Dave nor I were brought up in the era of social media.
Our hope and desire is for our kids to have the same childhood memories that we have enjoying the great outdoors. It’s so important that kids have “hands-on” learning experiences that they otherwise wouldn’t be able to get from social media or screen time. Realistically, we can’t keep our kids away from social media and screen time forever, but we CAN expose them to a lot of fun experiences in nature while it matters most during these developmentally influential years.
You state that “Social media should be real & raw, beautiful and ugly, relatable and friendly,” and that you are “tired of following the people who look like they have their shit together. We do not have it all together, and we won’t pretend to either” We love the raw honesty. How do use this mindset to encourage real people to get out and adventure?
Ha! Thanks. You know, we really want people to experience what we have by traveling. It’s not always easy. Sometimes there are mishaps, sometimes there are fights, sometimes there are tears, sometimes there are sleepless nights. But it’s ALWAYS worth it. We never want to paint a picture that makes anyone think we’re doing some unachievable or perfect thing. Anyone can do what we’re doing- especially with kids. And we want to help empower them to do it.
What are some of your goals for your blog and social media?
From the get-go, Dave and I asked ourselves this same question. We decided that our social media account would be “easy” because we were simply going to document what we would be doing with or without it. If people graciously decided to follow us along our journeys- awesome! And if not, we would, at least, have a really fun family photo album to show our kids one day. But, like we previously mentioned, we truly just want to encourage other families to get out there and adventure with their little ones.
What are some of your most memorable stories from your adventures?
I’ll never forget the first time we decided to travel with Oakley when he was 6 months old. We went to Cabo San Lucas. It was certainly not the vacation we were used to as a couple without kids, but it was incredible. We loved taking him with us. He would sleep on the lounge chairs under the umbrellas by the pool while we drank and conversed with friends. It was this trip in which he developed his love for guacamole. And it was this trip that we realized our new found love of traveling with kids.
After we had Cali, we decided to go to Hawaii when she was 3 months old. The cheapest flight we could find, at the time, consisted of a single 9-hour flight. About 1 hour in, Oakley pooped in his diaper… you know, the kind of poop that is not contained in a diaper. It was all over Dave. The passengers around us were gagging, and poor Dave had to wash his clothes in the bathroom and attempt to rid himself of poop remnants. We had always traveled with extra clothes for the kids, but never for ourselves. That was quite a memorable flight, but the trip to Hawaii was even more memorable in a positive light.
Thinking back to the places we’ve been, Oakley has kayaked for starfish, swam with sharks in Belize, paddleboarded with me in Hawaii, hiked to the top of mountains, gone snowboarding, walked on black sand beaches, crawled through ice castles, seen magnificent arches, been on countless flights, accompanied us to wineries, and so much more. I just love watching him experience these things for the first time. Cali just turned 1, and she’s starting to take all of it in too!
Where is your next big adventure?
We’re headed to Costa Rica next week! BUT we have a giant adventure coming up in March … stay tuned!
Check out their website: microadventurefamily.com
Follow them on Instagram: @microadventurefamily
At This Adventure Life we celebrate the lives and stories of the people who live life fearlessly. #livefearlessly